The public relations firm hired by the Center for American Progress, the Democratic Party-linked thinktank, to restore its image after it was charged with being critical of Israel has also worked closely with Republican Sheldon Adelson's pet project, Birthright Israel, which sends young American Jews for free to Israel so as to cement American Jewish support for the country.
Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications had Birthright as a client for at least three years, from 2006-2008, and got nearly $300,000 for its services, according to federal tax forms filed by Birthright.
Dorf was hired lately by the Center for American Progress (CAP) as a form of damage control because the PR firm has such close ties to the Jewish community and Zionist groups. CAP had come under attack from a neoconservative smear campaign that said CAP was sheltering anti-Semites because some of its bloggers had criticized Israel. One of those bloggers has since left the organization, and CAP has backtracked on some of its writings.
The hiring of Dorf underlines the fact that the Israel lobby transcends political parties. The smear campaign against CAP was led by neocons and Republicans. Had the issue been women's rights or immigration or gay rights, the Democratic Party surely would have taken on the fight. But the smear campaign gained traction inside the Democratic Party establishment, and even the White House distanced itself from the CAP writings.
Birthright is one of Republican Sheldon Adelson's favorite charities. He has given it more than $100 million since 2007, including $10 million last year. In December he told a gathering of hundreds of Birthright travelers in Israel that he agreed with Newt Gingrich's comment that the Palestinians are an invented people.
Adelson has also given millions to Gingrich's campaign and said that he might spend $100 million on the race this year.
Adelson is a close ally of Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His gifts to the Republican Party in 2000 helped consolidate the neoconservative hold on the George W. Bush administration.
In choosing Dorf, CAP chose an organization that has worked closely with several pro-Israel groups. Federal 990 forms show that Dorf has also worked for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, whose mission statement includes this language--
2. TO DEDICATE OURSELVES TO THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL;
and which today is helping to promote a militant response to Iran.
Other clients of Dorf include Human Rights First, a human rights group with close ties to the Democratic Party; the Taube Center for Jewish Life and Culture; and the Obermayer Foundation in Massachusetts, which supports liberal Zionist organizations including Peace Now and Meretz.
One of the posts that got CAP in trouble from the neoconservatives was Eli Clifton's groundbreaking piece last summer showing that the Israel lobby's strategy on Iran war mirrored the runup to the Iraq war. I wonder how much room CAP will have for such groundbreaking journalism in months to come?